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V-Card Diaries: Ferrette "To me, throwing off your virginity isn't like smashing a window, but ascending a flight of stairs."

Today we're highlighting 25-year-old Ferrette, who talks about all the steps she's taken in her deliberately slow process to make her sexual debut. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. How do you define virginity? First, can I say how much I abhor that word? Its so loaded with stifling negative assumptions. I don't really label myself a virgin in the traditional sense. I mean, yes, the final step in "losing it" for me, a 25-year-old black straight-ish cis woman, is vaginal penetration with a penis. But the key word there is "step." To me, throwing off your virginity isn't like smashing a window, but ascending a flight of stairs. Its a series of experiences that lead to that personal point where one feels they've completed sexual debut. And my experiences to date just don't confine me to the traditional virgin/non-virgin binary.

How did you lose your virginity, or why have you kept it? I'm losing my virginity in slow motion. That's really the best way to describe it. I spent my high school years in the Southern Baptist church (my form of teenage rebellion), which gave me rather twisted and unhealthy notions of sex, love and relationships. At 18, I called myself conservative, signed a purity pledge and even thought I'd save my first kiss for the altar, because that's what "good girls" did.

Later, in college, I realized how duped I'd been by the church, and things began to change. Here's the rundown:

My first kiss was at 19. I was 22 for my first make out session. 23 the first time I was fingered, and got completely naked in front of someone. 24 when I gave my first blow job, got lip service, did insertion and had what I now recognize was a "just the tip" experience (thank you, NOLA).

And at 25, the first (and only) time I had a partnered orgasm. So far, that's 5 "virginities." No P-in-V yet, but each of those experiences are very important to me and really feel like virginities in and of themselves.

For a long time, I wasn't ready to go that step. I was still a slave to that Baptist idea that sex irrevocably damages you. It was only recently, after reading "Yes Means Yes" and "The Purity Myth" that I've finally broken the chains. And that partnered orgasm? It was with a very dear friend and where I finally decided I was ready take that last step (well, that's putting it mildly. I was damn near begging for it). Although we didn't (he was hesitant to hurt our relationship), it was still a profound realization. At last, there's nothing holding me back. And that's when I decided to create my own rules.

Which are? Rule #1: NEVER fake it. It neither gives you pleasure, nor helps your partner in the long run. Rule #2: Never measure a person's worth by their sexual experience.